Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Film-O-Rama: Five-Minute Reviews and More

As threatened, here are some movies I've watched recently and my general impressions of them.

The trailers make it look like a thriller, but it's more like a two-and-a-half hour America's Most Wanted crime re-enactment. It probably didn't help the "suspense" that I already knew all the details of the real-life Zodiac murders going in, but no matter how you slice it, this movie is mostly a very long procedural, with the characters existing mainly to deliver exposition. There are some nice details (the Zodiac's handwriting -- I don't know if it's actually his -- features the "maniac d"*), and Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr. invest some personality into their characters. But whereas Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia was a putrid mess bearing little relation to the actual crime (yeah, I know it was based on a fanciful James Ellroy novel), David Fincher's latest, ahem, stab at the serial killer genre suffers from hewing so close to accuracy it feels like a documentary rather than a drama. It's far from a total waste, but it's definitely one to rent vs. seeing in the theatre.

If you decide to watch a movie called Beerfest, then you already know what to expect. And this movie meets those expectations. Good, stupid fun.

Implausible and pretentious bit of self-conscious indie hipness only slightly redeemed by the total freaking hotness of the two main female characters (Agnes Bruckner and Kelli Garner).

The Prestige
Another Christopher Nolan cut-and-paste jigsaw narrative, this may be his best since Memento (although I didn't see Batman Begins, so take this statement accordingly, superhero nerds). Good performances all around -- Christian Bale (I've never seen him in anything less than kickass mode on screen) and Michael Caine, most notably.

A Greek zombie movie?! Yes, I found a screener copy today at work and, based on what I see on this page, it looks awesome! I'll be watching this one very soon.

Bonus: The Red Wings and other actual hockey players also love the movie Slap Shot, according to The Detroit News. What's not to love, anyway?

* The author of this page, Bob Wallace, originally had a much better, article-length note about the "maniac d," but unfortunately it seems it's no longer on the intarwebs.